The Italian Coffee Drink “Cappuccino” Derives Its Name From?
Answer: Monks’ and Nuns’ Clothing
A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink that originated in Viennese coffee houses in the 17th century and evolved into its present form, a mixture of espresso, milk, and milk foam, over the centuries as coffee brewing increased in sophistication with the invention of the espresso machine in 1884 and its widespread adoption (after World War II).
The name of the drink is derived from the Capuchin monks and nuns and is a reference to the color of their traditional clothing: hooded robes. When the steamed milk is added to the espresso, the resulting light brown color closely resembles the earthen tone of the Capuchin hooded robes.
What’s doubly interesting about the name is that the Capuchin monks and nuns chose their name because in Latin Caputium means hood or covered head (the monks’ and nuns’ robes have a distinct hood), in Italian (a Latinate language) “cappuccio” means hood, and “cappuccino” is the diminutive form that means “little hood” or “little cover”. Given that a traditional cappuccino is both light brown in color (like the monks’ and nuns’ hooded robes) and the milk foam acts as a cover or hood for the milk and espresso blend within, it’s a more than fitting name for the very popular drink.
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